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Thankful for the Gift of Life

Friday, 19 November, 2010 - 12:52 pm

Dear Friends,

Last week, I arrived in the Seattle airport from my trip to New York and made my way to the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen. After paying at the ferry booth, I turned to my right to get to my lane heading to Victoria.

Moments later, a semi-trailer coming from another booth hit the passenger side of the car, broke the window, and shook the car. It was a frightening split of a second.

The side of the car was severely damaged. I checked myself to make sure I was alive and well.  It was clear that if the truck had continued another few inches further, things would have ended very differently. Still shaken by this traumatic incident, the first thought that came to my mind was that I am grateful. I felt thankful to G-d that I wasn't hurt and there was nobody in the passenger seat.

The police came, my car was towed and I walked onto the ferry with all my boxes and suitcases from New York… The truck driver stood there looking confused and embarrassed.

On the ferry, I went and found the truck driver.  Shaking his hand, I reassured him that I was not upset, "we all make mistakes and learn from them,” I said. He seemed stunned by my reaction. I explained to him that my first feeling after the accident was just being thankful to the Almighty for not getting hurt, and this overwhelmed any feeling of anger that I could have had.

The Code of Jewish Law requires from one who is in a dangerous situation and was saved, to say the blessing of "Hagomel Lachayavim Tovot", which means "Blessed are You, who bestows good things upon the guilty.” I believe this is why gratefulness was the first thought that entered my mind.

I invite you to join me tomorrow morning at Shul, when I will be saying the blessing of "Hagomel" at the Torah, another opportunity to thank G-d for the trust He has in me, giving me the gift of life.

Comments on: Thankful for the Gift of Life

Inna wrote...

THANK G-D !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Matthew wrote...

Baruch Hashem you're alright. I wish I could come to the shul to hear you say the Bracha and say Amen. Unfortunately I will be at a medical seminar. Shabbat Shalom!

KE Milotay wrote...

Hodu l'Hashem ki tov!

Sheila Thompson wrote...

Baruch Hashem that you weren't hurt. I too will not be at Shul tomorrow, recovering at home from a broken hip. But I will be hearing the 'Hagomel" in my head.
Shabat Shalom!

shelly hilditch wrote...

Rabbi Caplan, I am moved and impressed with your actions after the accident. Forgiveness is so important in this terribly vengeful world in which we live.
I was unaware of 'Hagomel' I am happy to learn that Judaism has a blessing to enable one to forgive
What a wonderful learning experience for the truck driver, who meant you no harm.